CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Sokol Cedar Rapids will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a longtime tradition.
The group, which traces its history in Cedar Rapids to 1873, plans a pork and dumpling dinner to mark the occasion from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 17, 2023.
Advance tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members for dine-in or carryout for the event, at the Sokol Gymnastics Association hall, 5200 18th Ave. SW. Call (319) 362-1632 in advance for tickets.
Pork, dumplings, sauerkraut, applesauce, dessert and a commemorative coffee mug are included.
“Everyone is encouraged to share and display their photos and stories before, during and after the dinner on June 17,” said Judy Vondracek, Sokol Cedar Rapids board president and one of the sesquicentennial organizers.
For generations, traditional pork and dumpling dinners were a mainstay for Sokol fundraisers; also serving as a social gathering.
The Czech-based social and gymnastics organization has its roots in what is now the Czech Republic, where it was founded in 1862.
Immigrants brought the tradition to the United States, with a local Sokol unit starting in Cedar Rapids 150 years ago.
Sokol — the Czech word for “falcon” — is based on the concept of a “Sound Mind in a Sound Body,” offering physical training in gymnastics and other athletics, as well as providing cultural awareness and family-oriented activities.
A downtown Sokol building constructed in 1908 was flooded in June 2008, just as Sokol Cedar Rapids was preparing for the building’s 100th anniversary. Photos and other memorabilia were lost in the unprecedented flooding.
The building was repurposed and Sokol moved to 5200 18th Ave. SW, where gymnastics classes and other events are held, including the Sokol Western District’s Annual Slet in April, where nearly 70 gymnasts from Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa competed.
A slet, which roughly translates to “a flocking of birds,” is a gathering of Sokol members who compete in gymnastics.
Cedar Rapids was the site of the American Sokol National Slet and Festival, in June 2017.
More: See photos from the National Slet ceremonies in Cedar Rapids, Iowa